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“best atmosphere!”

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Sunshine Divers Resort
Ranked #20 of 140 Specialty Lodging in Koh Tao
Tampere, Western Finland, Finland
1 review
“best atmosphere!”
Reviewed June 2, 2012

We did our Open Water course here. We went to see many different diving schools, but this was the one we had the best feeling with because of the nice people and great atmosphere. We also liked the fact that the accomodation was included to the price of the diving course! Our instructor Manuel was awesome teacher and we had a lot of fun diving with him! I highly recommend this school; even though there's plenty of diving schools in Koh Tao we found this the best one for us. The location is also good 'cause we didn't want to stay at Sairee beach which is too busy and loud. We preferred the small and cozy beach bar next to the diving school instead. It's also next to the Shark Bay which is amazing for snorkeling.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank Henna H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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158 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (27)
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English first
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed May 22, 2012 via mobile

We didn't sleep here, but did or fun dives with them. The diving school has a very relaxed atmosphere and their main thing is to keep everything small and personal. The nice thing is that they can offer this with the service and facilities of a big school as they are affiliated with one of the larger schools on koh Tao.

So if you don't like large classes/groups this is your choice: you get best of both worlds!

  • Stayed May 2012
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Thank Vincev76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
64 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
Reviewed April 10, 2012

This gem is located on the south end of the Island, in what couldn't be a more perfect location! The beach itself is probably one of the nicest on the islands. Food is great, and plenty of low cost options. Even though this is a bit away from the main hustle and bustle of the sairee beach, it's really not that far at all by motor bike. You could even walk. a friend of mine did, he said it took him about 20 minutes or so. The entire island is pretty tiny but with plenty to do. The rooms are very reasonably priced and have air conditioning and warm water. The bed was the size of my entire bedroom at home, although really firm. The only downside was that they only give you one sheet which is very small compared to the size of the king size bed. It's really hot in Thailand, but most of us like to have a little more on our backs than a sheet that blows away from wind created by the fan. They could probably upgrade the linens. I ended up sleeping without it. I liked that they have free use of the wireless access near the main check in area (basically right on the beach). One of my favorite parts of this resort was the little bar on the beach. a couple of the nights I was there they had sort of an open mic thing going on with a really good performer singing classic rock and some newer songs. It was just so peaceful under the sunset with the waves, and a really mellow crowd. It was just great. If you are there to party, just walk down the beach to a few of the other beach bars. No big clubs here, so don't expect that. Near the hotel, like 5 minute walk, there is a 711 and about 2 or 3 grocery stores, as well as an internet cafe, several travel agents, restaurants and motor bike vendors. It's a great location with lots to do. I wanted to point out Nathalie, who e-mailed with me back and forth for weeks to help me find the right accommodation and dive course. The service is really great! She helped me quite a bit with planning my entire vacation!

Now to the Dive training. This was by FAR way more than I ever expected. The thing I like most about the diving courses here is that you are never in a class with more than 4 people. And I'm not talking about 4 people to an instructor, I'm talking about 4 people per CLASS. Every dive resort claims 4 people to an instructor, but often times you are in classes of 10-15 or more. This place, you are guaranteed a really personal lesson plan with no more than 4 people in a class. Our instructor Michelle was amazing and incredibly patient and kind. We were not rushed through any of the program and encouraged to take our time. I felt leaving really comfortable with what I had learned and wished I would have stayed for the advanced course! My brother, another friend of mine, my roommate and his friend have all at some point taken their dive course at this resort. I cannot recommend it enough, if for even the diving course alone. When I got back to Koh Tao (which I most definitely will), you better believe Sunshine dive resort is where I will be going to advance my diving skills!

Room Tip: Try to get one near the beach and spend the few extra bucks and get yourself A/C. Trust me!
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank TrvlMarMil33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
Reviewed April 7, 2012

Not sure what the below reviews are whining about. My wife and I did our open water and stayed here too. Yes there are mosquitoes outside and ants, basic toilet, but this is Thailand and it was really affordable. Our instructor was Allison and Gemma and both were fun, attentive and patient. We loved it so much we stayed an extra day and did two more fun dives. I thought it was well organized and I loved how it was small groups and casual. I would hate the fancier vibe, and being stuffed with loads of other tourists.

Great bar, and Chalok Bay is great.

We moved rooms to be further from the bar as it was a bit noisy but I mean...it's an outdoor bar..

I think they could splurge a little for new mattresses though. They were pretty bad, even for Thailand. But great staff, cheap drinks and good vibes. Maybe the Grannies should stay at Bans to have the More luxury experieice.

Room Tip: Stay back away from the bar.
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
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1 Thank patrickinbc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 29, 2012

Me and my friends stayed with Sunshine divers...

Accomodation:
The rooms are very basic. This was not a problem, as long as it is clean, right?. I had the impression that the pillowcovers were not changed. They smelled like someone just slept on them. So we changed them our selves. Overall, the rooms are very basic, which is to be exepected for 450 Baht (so no problem). The garden, where the bungalows are situated in, is very nice. If you also dive with them, the rooms are 400 baht.
BUT... the first day I sprayed the room and bed with Baygon for the (many!) mosquitos. Again, no problem, we are in Thailand. The second day I didn't spray.... big mistake. I am covered with very itchy bedbug-bites. I removed the covers to spray the matress...dirty and very old. You can litterly feel every (old fashioned) spring on your body while lying on the bed. Every room/bed with bed bugs is a very big NO-GO.

Staff & diving
The staff is very friendly. It consists of different nationalities. We were there as fundivers. I think that as a fundiver you can find a much much better divingcenter for your dives. We felt like the open-water students had a higher priority. Our first day of diving we got a freelance divemaster (last minute arranged). He was a nice guy, but was more interested in other people than in us. The dive was more of a formality. You could see that he was not that experienced (with his 2 years of diving experience). The second day we got 2 girls. They were very nice and very enthousiastic, which made the diving also very nice. They did a great job. The only thing was that we had to stamp and fill in our own logbook, as they went away for lunch after the dive. Overall, students get a lot of attention. Fun divers just go along with the students. This should be the other way around!

The location is quite good. There are more divecentres around there. In these bed bug cases, never ever settle for the cheapest price. Just pay a few euros more for a much better room. I mean, diving is allready an expensive hobby. Don't let a bad accomodation influence your dives!

In conclusion. I would strongly recommend to go the another place if you are a fun diver, as this place is actually only suitable for student divers. The place is also very bad organized. Allthough the staff is very friendly, the lack of authority/manager makes the service is very bad.. Second the accomodation..... bed bugs.. need I say more...

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank Aklesh K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, Colorado
Level 5 Contributor
95 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed March 21, 2012

Decided to do my advanced open water scuba course while in Ko Tao and went here on a recommendation of a friend who visited several years ago. Upon check in, my wife and I had a number of communication problems with the staff finding changes made to our reservation. When we received our room, we immediately decided to check out and stay somewhere else. The window slats don't close, making air con worthless, the toilet is little more than a porcelain bowl on the ground (and definitely requires squatting) and I managed to bump my head twice on the very low door frame to the bathroom. Mattresses are old and thin. The only good part is the location on the beach and the cheap food at sunshine 2. If you decide to do a course here, stay somewhere else.

As for the instruction, I would gladly trade the advertised low number of students for higher quality of instruction and coordination. When asked how many instructors they have, two of the instructors responded with "too many". Also be aware that you will almost certainly have at least one Dive Master in training accompanying you on your dives, which was a burden rather than being helpful. I had two different ones, one who got lost during a training dive causing us to surface, and another who had about 25 dives and couldn't use a compass. Between check in and my first dive, my instructor changed four times. The instructor I received had plenty of dives under his belt and was very kind but just seemed to be going through the motions. I received plenty of compliments from the instructor but left feeling I hadn't learned anything or become a better diver. I completed all the course work and videos alone, without any guidance other than asking if I had any questions. As a final 'gotcha' they charge 100 baht to take your photo for the application to PADI, which I was not told until it showed up on my bill. Considering I already had several passport sized photos with me for other visas, etc this could have easily been avoided had they told me up front.

Sunshine visits the same dive sites as all the other operators on the island, which are subject to last minute changes just like everyone else. Equipment is basic but in good shape. Rubber fins are provided rather than boots with strap on fins, so consider bringing socks or bandages in case of rubbing. Dive computers are provided for required deep dives but cost extra otherwise.

  • Stayed March 2012
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Aero303
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wilrijk, Antwerpen, Belgium
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed March 19, 2012

I went to Sunshine Divers to get the Advanced Open Water course and the Rescue Diver course. I knew the free accomodation included in the courses would be (very) basic, but I went for it anyway.
The cold water shower was ok for me since the weather was quite hot and the cold shower was really refreshing. Thailand isn't really the country where you live indoors, so having just a bed and a shower will do for me. Apart from the mattress being totally worn down (you could feel every spring), it wasn't too bad if you're ok with basic comfort. Another downside though was the noise at night from different nearby parties, which doesn't help if you have to be bright and shiny for diving at 7am...
My opinion: if your budget allows you to, try to find a room somewhere more quiet.

Concerning the courses I can only say they were absolutely brilliant!!
Scott was my instructor for both courses and he did an awesome job. I felt very comfortable with him being a very experienced diver. He's both relaxed and professional at the same time and he's making sure you understand everything you need to know.
He decided for 2 Dive Master trainees plus himself to be my victims on my Rescue Diver course and even though I was rather nervous about the "Dives from Hell", I had an awesome time and in the end I would have loved a few more! Big thanks to Scott, Julie and Addy!

I've done some diving before near Phuket (Racha Yai and Racha Noi) but I like the dive sites at Koh Tao many times more. It's a great place to go diving and a fantastic island to stay at. I'm definately going back there!

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Johan_DR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sunshine Divers Resort

Property: Sunshine Divers Resort
Address: Chalok Bann Kao, Koh Tao 84280, Thailand
Location: Thailand > Surat Thani Province > Koh Tao
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #20 of 140 Specialty Lodging in Koh Tao
Number of rooms: 40
Also Known As:
Sunshine Divers Hotel Koh Tao

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